Let me start this blog off by telling you that I am absolutely not an expert on the Treaty of Waitangi! I’m just a typical New Zealand born Joe Bloggs that quite frankly never cared about the Treaty. I know its a controversial topic that every year at the same time it’s all over the news, both positive and negative coverage….I assume.
Well, yesterday in class we learnt a bit about the Treaty of Waitangi and I’m guessing you’re probably thinking, what on earth does the Treaty of Waitangi have to do with Information Technology? I’m still not quite sure exactly but what I learnt in class, it really comes down to one word, globalisation!
Before I discuss with you how Globalisation ties in with the Treaty of Waitangi, I’m going to discuss with you some important facts and statements I learnt yesterday….in Information technology in Context!
Just in New Zealand?
War! As long as there has been a human race there has been wars ! The 1800’s were no different, in little old New Zealand, the Maoris’ were fighting a war with Britain. The New Zealand Wars, which were long known as the Maori Wars, were a series of armed conflicts that took place in New Zealand from 1845 to 1872 between the New Zealand government and indigenous Maori. Did you know that at the same time as the Maori Wars, Britain was also fighting another war against the Xhosa people, Xhosa people are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa living in south-east South Africa. From 1850-1864 Britain was also involved in a conflict named the Taiping Rebellion, a war between the British Empire, French Empire, and the Qing Empire of China fighting the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.
Needless to say, Britain was very busy in the 1800’s and in little old New Zealand, the indigenous people were getting shafted like the many other indigenous people around the world were.
Did you know?
Like I said, I’m just the average Joe Bloggs and I have bugger all knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi! Like I said above though, I have seen it on the news many times every year and I do know there’s disputes regarding land. What I learnt about in Information Technology in Context regarding the Treaty, I must admit I found it quite fascinating.
After reading through some of the content in ‘The Story, The Treaty, Part2’ I came across this section about the Grey’s land purchasing-programme and I was astonished!
Grey’s land purchasing-programme:
Key parts of this constitution were not implemented, because in November 1845 Sir George Grey had replaced FitzRoy as Governor. Grey realised that such policies, which in effect seized land off Mäori, threatened to provoke a mass uprising. He argued that Mäori would willingly sell large areas of land to the Crown.
Once he was given adequate funds, Grey embarked on an ambitious programme of land-purchasing. This continued after his departure from New Zealand at the end of 1853, and saw nearly all of the South Island and about one-fifth of the North Island pass into Crown ownership by 1865. (Retrieved from http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/files/documents/The_Story_Part_2.pdf on16/3/2016)
Let me ask you…..did you know that nearly the whole South Island and about one-fifth of the North Island was purchased by the crown?
The United Nations and the Treaty
The UNDRIP ( United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) is a document that states the relationship between the United Nations and Indigenous people from around the world. Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand and the rights set out in the Declaration apply to them. The Declaration reflects and elaborates on the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It was described by the United Nations as “a landmark declaration that brought to an end nearly 25 years of contentious negotiations over the rights of native people to protect their lands and resources, and to maintain their unique cultures and traditions.” ( Retrieved from summary of the Declaration in English (PDF) on 16/3/2016)
Some examples of how this document relates to the Indigenous people of New Zealand are as follows:
Language: In most schools around the country they teach the Maori language commonly known as Te Reo.
Media: Maori people have there own media coverage such as News on television, radio stations and news websites such as http://tvnz.co.nz/te-karere-news.
Religious and spiritual customs: An example of this is when a you enter a marae you must take your shoes off.
Our lecturer asked us what are our thoughts on minority indigenous groups having the right to govern themselves, when they have been colonized by a larger, more dominant culture?
Tough question for me personally as I’ve never really thought or even cared about the subject! Let me tell you this though, I’m a huge history nut as far as war goes, I’ve read many many war biographies, I love guns, tanks, submarines and aircraft, and the one thing I’ve learned the most after reading the hundreds of war books I have is that war happens, if there’s mankind there’s always going to be wars and as a consequence of war indigenous people always get the short straw and lose land, rights, power etc. Am I saying its right? no, of course not, am I saying its wrong? no, it’s a hard one that personally I don’t have a strong opinion of, I’m on the fence with that one.
Maori language Week
Maori language week runs every year and has done since 1975, this is a great way for all New Zealanders to celebrate te reo and it also serves as a purpose for Maoris to protect their culture and way of life.
Every year since 1975 New Zealand has marked Māori Language Week. This is a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate te reo Māori (the Māori language) and to use more Māori phrases in everyday life. In 2015 Māori Language Week runs from 27 July to 2 August; the theme is ‘Whāngaihia te reo Māori ki ngā mātua’: ‘helping parents to pass te reo on to their children’. This is an aspect of the underlying theme of Māori Language Week, ‘Arohatia te Reo – cherish the language’. (retrieved from http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/maori-language-week on 16/3/2016)
This is an example of an event where indigenous people have things in place to protect their culture and way of life.
Indigenous people and the digital age
Outside of New Zealand, there is currently something “cool” and “hot” about Māori designs and culture that have made them increasingly popular on the global market and in the tourism industry in New Zealand. As Māori MP John Tamihere said “[w]orldwide indigenous shares are skyrocketing”. When products from New Zealand are associated with Māori symbols, they tend to gain a higher value overseas from seeming more “authentic” and “in touch with nature”. (retrieved from Māori Culture in the Modern World: Its Creation, Appropriation and Trade, Jessica Christine Lai*,SEPTEMBER 2010, page 10, chapter 3.1 HOW THE MĀORI ARE MISSING OUT).
This is example of a threat the digital age poses indigenous people such as the Maoris of New Zealand. In the age where everyone has a cell phone that can access the internet and can therefore access Maori designs for such purposes as tattoos, pictures, paintings etc.
What obligations does the Crown have under the Treaty of Waitangi to protect against the offensive use of Maori words and images?
The report says because the Crown agreed to protect taonga, it has an obligation to protect this relationship Maori had with their language, and the use of their language. The Maori culture is a taonga of the Maori people, so under the Treaty the Crown had the obligation to protect that culture. By allowing third parties to misuse Maori words and Maori images, [the Crown] had not protected that culture and not protected that relationship that Maori had with their culture, so they had breached the Treaty. (retrieved from http://idealog.co.nz/venture/2011/11/comercialising-culture on 16/3/2016) I found this blog really interesting regarding this topic.
The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 by the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. The Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry charged with making recommendations on claims brought by Maori relating to actions or omissions of the Crown that potentially breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.
Here is a link to their website.